Oxford City Council marks Cycle to School week

Published: Monday, 3rd October 2022

Oxford City Council is supporting Cycle to School Week, which is taking place from Monday 3 October until Friday 7 October.

Cycle to School Week (formerly known as Bike to School Week) is a week-long event where families are encouraged to try cycling and scooting to school.

Nationally, data from Cycling UK shows an average of just 2.2% of children cycle to school, while 35.4% are driven.

Oxford has the second highest prevalence for cycling at least once a week in the country (39% of residents), and the second highest rate of residents cycling to work (25% of residents). 

Physical activity has a direct impact on health, and walking and cycling are the cheapest and most accessible ways of being active. According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Cherwell School on Marston Ferry Road has the highest rate of traveling to school by bike in the UK, with 58% of children regularly travelling to school by bike, 15% arriving by bus and 15% on foot and just 11% by car.

Why we are supporting cycling in Oxford

Across Oxford, cars occupy around 52% of road space during the morning peak hours. In comparison, buses and bikes occupy 28% of road space but transport around 68% of people. Cycling is a much more efficient use of road space for transporting people than cars.

In Oxford 40% of toxic nitrogen dioxide comes from transport. This level increases at busy roadside locations and has harmful effects on respiratory systems as well as increasing risk of cancer.

High levels of traffic combined with high levels of air pollution make walking and cycling less attractive.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are currently consulting on proposals to install six traffic filters across the city as part of an ETRO (Experimental Traffic Regulation Order).

Traffic filters are designed to reduce private vehicle traffic, make bus journeys faster, help reach the ambitious carbon reduction targets, and make walking and cycling more convenient and safer. They aim to deliver traffic reduction benefits across the city and not just at the point where the traffic filter is located. Walking and cycling conditions will also become safer and more pleasant due to reduced traffic levels and better air quality. 

The six proposed filters are located at:

  • St Cross Road (immediately south of its junction with Manor Road)
  • Thames Street (immediately east of its junction with Blackfriars Road)
  • Hythe Bridge Street (immediately west of its junction with Rewley Road)
  • St Clements (immediately east of its junction with Boulter Street and Jeune Street)
  • Marston Ferry Road (immediately west of the access to The Swan School)
  • Hollow Way (between James Wolfe Road and Dene Road)

The locations have been strategically chosen, so that a traffic filter in one location may also lead to greater traffic reduction in other areas across the city.

Permits will be available for blue badge holders, health workers and professional and non professional care workers. Residents in Oxford and some areas just outside the city will be able to apply for a permit to drive through the traffic filters for up to 100 days per year.

It is estimated that the proposed six filters will increase the percentage of people cycling by around 10%, while also reducing road accidents by around 15% within the city due to reduced traffic.  

The consultation is open until Thursday 13 October 2022. Take part here.

Cycling to school not only supports a healthy and active lifestyle, but it also helps to reduce the number of cars on our roads during rush hour. Oxford already has the second highest number of cyclists in the country, and we want to encourage more young cyclists on our roads.

“The current traffic filter consultation aims to support cycling in our city for everyone by reducing pollution, reducing congestion and freeing road space for better cycle lanes and pavements. If you are a cyclist, or want to cycle more in the city, then I encourage you to take part in the consultation.”

Councillor Louise Upton, Cycling Champion and Cabinet member for Cabinet Member for Health and Transport